Thursday 23 November 2017

Principles of War

The Principles of War are the principles expressing the rules of military thought and actions that serve as the permanent basis for combat doctrine. The application of the Principles of War differs at different levels and for different operations. Their relative importance can be expected to vary from event to event.

The Principles of War are the principles expressing the rules of military thought and actions that serve as the permanent basis for combat doctrine.
The list of principles is a methodological tool that differs from army to army and from era to era. While the principles remain the same, the list morphs according to time and place, with application always dependent on context.

The Principles of War have evolved over a long period of time. The evolution can be categorized into three stages:
  • Pre-BC to Napoleonic war era.
  • Napoleonic era to the end of World War II.
  • Post-World War II era.

Pre-BC to Napoleonic War Era

Kautilya: Two remarkable treatises in the pre-BC era from Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Kautilya’s Arthashastra is the oldest treatise known to exist which throws some light on the ancient Indian strategic culture. Kautilya enunciated the following factors involved in planning a campaign:

  • Power in terms of strength of fighting forces, enthusiasm and energy.
  • Place of operation, type of terrain and selection of ground of own choosing.
  • Time of military engagement.
  • Season for marching towards the battleground.
  • When to mobilise different types of forces.
  • The possibility of revolts and rebellions in the rear.
  • Likely losses, expenses, and gains.
  • Likely dangers.

Sun TzuAround 500 BC, Sun Tzu in his book, The Art of War, captured how military operations are influenced by uncontrollable factors. The major guidelines that Sun Tzu used to explain how military operations should be conducted are deception, intelligence, initiative, maneuver, logistics, leadership, and morale. Niccolo Machiavelli: Niccolo Machiavelli published his book, The Art of War, in 1521. Machiavelli puts forth what he calls general rules for military discipline. Some of the conclusions that can be drawn from his rules are: the importance of morale, security, surprise, discipline, need for reserves, know yourself and know your enemy, use of terrain, logistics, intelligence, and objective.

Maurice de Saxe: Maurice de Saxe was one of the most successful and colorful military leaders in Europe. The theory of Saxe is found in his book Reveries, which was published in 1757. Saxe did not present a list of principles, rules or maxims in his work. But in his short book, he provided clear instructions. Saxe placed emphasis on the need for administration, logistics, morale, deception, initiative, leadership and discipline.

Frederick the Great: One man who learned from the theories of Saxe was Frederick the Great. Frederick’s book, Instructions for the Generals, is the theory of a great military commander. Though he offered no list of principles, Frederick’s book does offer maxims for success. The aspects that Frederick the Great stressed in his work are logistics, maneuver, security, cultural awareness, morale, initiative, and leadership.

Napoleonic Era to World War II

Napoleon: The successes of Frederick the Great were dwarfed by the man some call the greatest military leader of all time. Napoleon fought more battles than Alexander, Hannibal and Caesar combined. His methods revolutionized warfare and dominated military thinking for most of the 19th century. The military exploits of Napoleon contributed greatly to the evolution of the Principles of War. Napoleon never wrote his theories of war, but his maxims were recorded and provide some insights to his genius, Napoleon’s maxims clearly illustrate what he thought to be important for victory in war.

Napoleon points to discipline, leadership, momentum, maneuver, mass, firepower, logistics, intelligence, morale, security, initiative, objective and unity of command.

: The most important theorist to interpret the successes of Napoleon was Antoine-Henri Jomini (1779-1869). Jomini perhaps did more for the Principles of War than any theorist before him and he certainly became the catalyst for those who would follow. Jomini, born in Switzerland, joined the French Army under Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon recognised Jomini and, in admiration of his brilliant mind, awarded him with a regular Colonel’s Commission. However, he was denied promotion as a result of the treachery of Berthier, Napoleon’s Chief of Staff and his arch rival. Jomini resigned from the French Army and accepted a commission as full general in the Russian Army under Alexander. He founded the Nicholas Military Academy in Moscow in 1832. Before his death at the age of 90, Jomini wrote 27 volumes on the subject of military history and theory. Jomini wrote a summary of the Art of War. He defined the principles in four maxims:

  • How men should be directed at decisive points against enemy lines of communication while protecting your own.
  • Manoeuvre with strength against enemy weakness.
  • Throw the mass of force onto the enemy’s decisive point.
  • A mass force so it is not only used against the decisive point but at the proper time with the proper amount of force.
Carl von Clausewitz: Carl Von Clausewitz, 1780-1831, a prolific writer on the strategy of the same period, produced On War and The Principles of War. Jomini and Clausewitz disagreed over the question of whether war is a science or an art. Yet, in many aspects, they were in striking agreement with each other. Carl von Clausewitz was outspoken in his arguments against Jomini’s works. Clausewitz viewed Jomini’s theory as being “one-sided” and strove to provide a more complete, well-rounded approach to the theory of warfare through the creation of numerous works. On War achieved widespread acclaim and was probably his greatest work.
However, while Clausewitz is today considered as an outstanding theorist of war, his works are complex and difficult to read, with his true meaning often obscure. In contrast, Jomini’s lucid and prescriptive works, in particular, his exposition of the fundamental Principles of War, have brought both clarity to military planning and operations, and a valuable, well-used framework for the study and teaching of warfare. Clausewitz may be more significant for scholars, but for two centuries, Jomini has proved of more use to practical military professionals.

Ferdinand Foch: Foch struggled with the moral and material factors of war and attempted to explain them by combining the two. Foch’s ideas reflect the work of another great French soldier, Ardant du Pieq, who wrote about the influence of morale and the human element in war. Foch’s ideas are

credited by some historians to be the birth of the modern list of principles. Foch was able to combine the ideas from both sides of the debate over the Principles of War into his theory, which he insisted to first consist of a number of principles. Foch never claimed how many principles there were, but he listed four: economy of force, freedom of action, free disposition of forces, and security.
World War I forced every country to review its doctrine in the light of the costly lessons learned in the war. The Principles of War again became the subject of debate in most major militaries. Great Britain appointed a committee to review the Principles of War and what role they should have in doctrine. The committee was formed in 1919 and among the invited guests to address the committee was J F C Fuller. Fuller urged the committee to consider the inclusion of the principles in the British military doctrine. Fuller definitely influenced the committee on the need to include the principles of
doctrine and perhaps what form they should take.

Principles of War, Great Britain, 1920

In 1920, the British Army published what they claimed to be the “Principles of War.” The eight principles included a title and a brief definition. They closely resembled Fuller’s principles of strategy. The difference was that the list was titled the Principles of War, not of strategy or tactics. The titles of the eight principles were:
  • Maintenance of the Objective.
  • Offensive Action.
  • Surprise.
  • Concentration.
  • Economy of Force.
  • Security
  • Mobility
  • Cooperation.
This was not the origin of the Principles of War, just as Fuller’s article was not the origin, but a definite mutation along their long evolutionary path. It was the emergence of the Principles of War into accepted operational terminology, no longer just in theory, but doctrine. In the years that followed, many militaries, including of the United States, would adopt the Principles of War into doctrine, but it was the British who did it first.
The United States Army published the Principles of War in a doctrine barely a year after the British Army. Like the British Army, the United States Army was also influenced by the work of J F C Fuller. Unlike the British, who expanded on the list of Fuller, the United States adopted Fuller’s list completely, with only one exception: adding the principle of simplicity.

During World War II, one of the most famous leaders in the British Army was Field Marshal Bernard I Montgomery. During the war, Montgomery published several pamphlets for his forces. In one pamphlet, he listed eight Principles of War significantly different from those published at the time. Montgomery introduced air power, administration, and morale to the modern list; he also adopted the principle of simplicity. After the war, Montgomery led the way to change the Principles of War in the British doctrine. The British adopted ten principles which have remained very similar to this day.

Post-World War II Era

In 1949, the Principles of War that were adapted to the US doctrine were:

  • The Objective.
  • Simplicity.
  • Unity of Command.
  • The Offensive.
  • Manoeuvre.
  • Mass.
  • Economy of Forces.
  • Surprise.
  • Security.

Subsequently, the US Army doctrine, Operation Field Manual FM 100 – 5, has been revised number of times. However, the basic Principles of War remain the same. It is by and large true for all the other armed forces of the world.

Analysis of the Present Principles of War

British Defence Doctrine Joint Warfare publication 0-01 (JWP 0-01) dated October 2001 gives the Principles of War as:

  • Selection and Maintenance of the Aim.
  • Maintenance of Morale.
  • Offensive Action.
  • Security.
  • Surprise.
  • Concentration of Force.
  • Economy of Effort.
  • Flexibility.
  • Cooperation.
  • Sustainability.

In 1990, the US military introduced principles for “Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW)” as:

  • Objective.
  • Unity of Effort.
  • Legitimacy.
  • Perseverance.
  • Restraint.
  • Security.

This implied that there is a difference between war operations and other military operations. The US military has since recognised the fallacy of different Principles of War for MOOTW. In the Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States Joint Publications (JP–1) the original nine Principles of War (i.e. Objective, Offensive, Mass, Economy of Force, Manoeuvre, Unity of Command, Security, Surprise, and Simplicity) are included and three unique Principles of MOOTW – Restraint, Perseverance, and Legitimacy – have been added. These three additional Principles of War are explained below:

Perseverance: The purpose of perseverance is to ensure the commitment necessary to attain the national strategic end state. The patient, resolute and persistent pursuit of national goals and objectives often is a requirement for success. This will frequently involve diplomatic, economic and informational measures to supplement military efforts.

Legitimacy: The purpose of legitimacy is to develop and maintain the will necessary to attain the national strategic end state. Legitimacy is based on the legality, morality, and rightness of the actions undertaken.

Restraint: The purpose of restraint is to limit collateral damage and prevent the unnecessary use of force. A single act could cause significant military and political consequences; therefore, judicious use of force is necessary. Restraint requires the careful and disciplined balancing of the need for security, the conduct of military operations and the national strategic end state.

Some of the Commonwealth countries have followed the British set of Principles of War. It is interesting to note that the German Army has not laid down any Principles of War. This has been done deliberately by them since they want to avoid the dangers of oversimplification and encapsulation of military concepts and principles. The Germans believe that only by an in-depth and continuing study of war can one develop the judgment to make good decisions in specific situations. They think that no simple set of rules or principles can substitute for a true understanding of the complexity of war. The Germans insist that their officers must develop an in-depth knowledge of military history. They could then apply the knowledge and thought processes developed in that study to the specific inevitably unique situation they faced.

Monday 6 November 2017

Deterrence Theory

Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons. It took on a unique connotation during this time as an inferior nuclear force, by virtue of its extreme destructive power, could deter a more powerful adversary, provided that this force could be protected against destruction by a surprise attack. Deterrence is a strategy intended to dissuade an adversary from taking an action not yet started or to prevent them from doing something that another state desires.

Military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender
Military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender 

Deterrence is an old practice, readily defined and described, widely employed but unevenly effective and of questionable reliability. Elevated to prominence after World War II and the arrival of nuclear weapons, deterrence became the central recourse for sustaining international and internal security and stability among and within states in an era of serious conflict. 

With regard to the presence of nuclear weapons in particular but also to deal with non-nuclear violent conflict, deterrence has been employed to prevent (or at least limit) the destruction of states, societies, and ultimately humanity. The greatest success has been that no nuclear weapons have been used for destructive purposes since the end of World War II in 1945. Deterrence has been widely used below the nuclear level but with very uneven results.

Deterrence has been intensively studied and tested as to its use in terms of strategy in international relations, the maintenance of stability in international relations, the conduct of violence and warfare in both international and domestic contexts, and in political affairs. Since deterrence is the use of threats to block or reduce the inflicting of serious harm, the existence of capacities for inflicting harm are readily maintained and periodically applied, so available deterrence capabilities provide a degree of continuing concern and a regular desire to at least do away with nuclear weapons and threats. A brief period in the ending of the Cold War saw a serious effort to reduce the reliance on deterrence, particularly nuclear deterrence, in international politics but it was soon replaced by serious movement in the opposite direction. Yet efforts to reduce the need for and use of deterrence continue.

Extensive efforts have been applied in the development of theories of deterrence, particularly to generate empirical theory in order to better understand and apply deterrence but without arriving at widely accepted results. This is the result of the considerable complexity of the subject, the activity involved, and the behavior of the practitioners.

The conduct of deterrence is now broader and deeper than before. It is under greater pressure due to technological, political, and cultural developments, and operates in a much more elaborate overall environment including space, cyberspace, and oceanic environs. Thus the goal of developing effective empirical theory on deterrence remains, at various levels, still incompletely attained. The same is true of mastering deterrence in practice. Nevertheless, deterrence remains important and fascinating.

Perfect deterrence theory and classical deterrence theory

Perfect deterrence theory and classical deterrence theory are two theoretical frameworks that have divergent empirical implications and dissimilar policy recommendations. In perfect deterrence theory, threat credibility plays a central role in the operation of both direct and extended deterrence relationships. But credible threats are neither necessary nor sufficient for deterrence to prevail, and under certain conditions, the presence of a credible threat may actually undermine deterrence. In perfect deterrence theory, the cost of conflict and status quo evaluations are also important strategic variables. Classical deterrence theorists tend to fixate on the former and ignore the latter. This theoretical oversight precludes a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of deterrence.

The Diversification of Deterrence

Deterrence theory is slowly beginning to emerge from a long sleep after the Cold War, and from its theoretical origins over half a century ago. New realities have led to a diversification of deterrence in practice, as well as to new avenues for its study and empirical analysis. Three major categories of changes in the international system—new actors, new means of warfare, and new contexts—have led to corresponding changes in the way that deterrence is theorized and studied. First, the field of deterrence has broadened to include non-state and nonnuclear actors, which has challenged scholars with new types of theories and tests. Second, cyber-threats, terrorism, and diverse nuclear force structures have led scholars to consider means in new ways. Third, the likelihood of an international crisis has shifted as a result of physical, economic, and normative changes in the costs of crisis, which had led scholars to more closely address the crisis context itself. The assumptions of classical deterrence are breaking down, in research as well as in reality. However, more work needs to be done in understanding these international changes and building successful deterrence policy. A better understanding of new modes of deterrence will aid policymakers in managing today’s threats and in preventing future deterrence failures, even as it prompts the so-called virtuous cycle of new theory and additional empirical testing.

National Power: Meaning, Nature, Dimensions and Methods

National Power is the ability or capability of a nation to secure the goals and objectives of its national interests in relation to other nations. It involves the capacity to use force or threat of use of force or influence over others for securing the goals of national interest.

Meaning of National Power

One can understand the meaning of National Power by first analyzing the meaning and nature of power:

What is Power?
It is not easy to explain the meaning of ‘Power’, more particularly in the context of human relations.We are encountered with many different explanations in various disciplines. Even within a single social discipline, Power is defined in several different ways.
Some social scientists define it as the use of force whereas many others explain it as the capacity to secure the desired goals through the use of force or threat of use of force or even by exercising influence.
1. “Power is the power of man on others” and as a “man’s control over the minds and actions of other men.” —Morgenthau

2. “Power is the capacity to impose one’s will on others by reliance on effective sanctions in case of non-compliance.” —Schwarzenberger

3. “Power is the ability to exercise such control as to make others do what they otherwise would not do by rewarding or promising to reward them, or by depriving or threatening to deprive them of something they value.” —Charles P. Schleicher:

On the basis of these definitions we can say that power in the context of human relations is the capacity and ability to secure a desired and intended effect or gain by means of use of force, influence or control.

What is National Power?

After having understood the meaning of power, it becomes quite easy to define National Power.

1. “National Power is that combination of power and capability of a state which the state uses for fulfilling its national interests and goals.” —Padelford and Lincoln

2. “National Power denotes the ability of a nation to fulfill national goals. It tells us as to how much powerful or weak a particular nation is in securing its national goals
.” —Hartman

3. “National Power is the ability of a nation to influence the behaviour of others in accordance with its own ends. Unless a nation can do this, she may be large, she may be wealthy, she may even be great but she is not powerful.” —Organski

In simple words, it can be said that National Power is the ability or capability of a nation to secure the goals and objectives of its national interests in relation to other nations. It involves the capacity to use force or threat of use of force or influence over others for securing the goals of national interest. In this way, we can define National Power as “the ability to control the behaviour of other states in accordance with one’s own will.” National Power is the currency of international relations.

Nature of National Power

For understanding the nature of National Power let us know the meaning of the terms ‘National’ and ‘Power’:

1. National

In common usage, the term ‘National’ means pertaining to the nation. As such national power means the power of a nation. However, in the context of national power the term ‘nation’ does not bear the same meaning as is the case in Political Science. Political Science defines a nation as a group of population bound by a strong sense of nationality based upon common race, religion, motherland, language, history, culture, economic needs etc.

In the context of national powers, the term nation stands for the power of the group of decision-makers, statesmen, and diplomats who exercise power on behalf of the nation. More specifically, it is the power of the decision-makers who formulate and implement the foreign policy of the nation and thereby attempt to secure national goals.

National Power does not mean the power of the entire population of the state. It is only a psychological link that makes the people regard the power of the decision-makers as their own power. An increase in the power of a nation really means an increase in the power of the decision-makers, statesmen, and diplomats of the nation to secure the goals of national interest. Hence, when we speak of national power in international politics, we really refer to the power of decision-makers of a nation in terms of their ability to secure the national interest of their nation.

2. Power

For understanding the nature of power in the context of National Power, let us distinguish between Power and Force, Power and Influence, Force and Influence, and its several other features.

A. Power and Force

Force means physical force, violence in the form of police action, imprisonment, punishment or war. Power means a psychological relationship of control which is backed by the use of force, or threat of use of force. When a physical force, war and other means involving the use of military power or police power is actually used to secure certain objectives, power stands replaced by force.
Wolfe and Coulomb’s equate “force with the military capacity of a nation, either in reserve or actualized.” They regard power as “a wider concept that not only includes the threat or the actual use of force but may also rely on positive and non-violent means of persuasion, such as economic rewards, acts of cooperation and ideological solidarity.”

B. Power and Influence

There exists a subtle difference between Power and Influence. Both are intimately related terms with similar variables and sources, and even in respect of the desired end. Both involve the ability to produce an intended change or effect in the behaviour of others. However, the two are not the same. Power involves a use of force or threat of use of force. Political Power or Legal Power is backed by authority or sovereignty of the state.

Influence involves the attempt to change the behaviour of others through persuasion and not by threats or force. The scope of influence is wider than the scope of power and it is more democratic than power. Nations try to influence other nations but in the ultimate sense the success is determined by the capacity to use force or threat of use of force.

Hence, it is power and not influence which is the real currency of International Politics. Role of influence is subservient to power. Only those nations have influence which are powerful nations. Thus, power is neither force nor influence. But at the time it involves, in one form or the other, both force and influence.

Main Features of National Power

National Power has a non-stable, dynamic character and as such it has to be continuously or at least periodically and regularly evaluated for understanding the role of the nation in international relations. National power is always dynamic. A powerful nation can become less powerful or more powerful in future.

Some of the most important features of national power in politics are as follows:

1. National Power is both a Means as well as an End in International Relations

National Power is the means to control the behaviour of other states with a view to accomplish certain ends. It is recognized as the currency with which a nation can secure the desired values—peace, security, progress, development, status, and more power. Nations use power to secure their interests in international relations. This makes power a means in relations among nations.

However, in actual practice power is pursued as an objective or as an end. Nations want power not only for their immediate but also for their future needs. They, therefore, always try to build up a reserve of power and hence pursue power as an end. Thus, power like money is a means but it is mostly pursued as an end.

2. National Power is the Ability to Secure Goals of National Interest

National Power is the ability or capacity of a nation to influence or change the behaviour of other nations with a view to secure the goals of its national interest. It is a relationship in which a powerful nation is in a position to achieve its desired goals of national interest in international relations. National Power of a nation is measured in terms of its ability to secure its goals and objectives in international relations.

3. National Power is Dynamic and Relative in Character

National power is always relative to time and resources. The power of a nation has to be analyzed both through an analysis of the capabilities and ability of the nation as well as by a comparison of its national power with other nations.

Further, National Power is dynamic. It keeps on increasing or decreasing. The debacle that India suffered in the 1962-war with China, considerably reduced the national power of India in relations with other nations. But a reasonably good account in 1965 war with Pakistan followed by a decisive victory in 1971 war gave a big boost to the national power of India. In the post-1971 period, India’s ability to exercise influence over other nations considerably increased.

The status as one of the founding members of the Non-aligned, an important leader of the Third World and the good progress in the development of technology and industrial development have further increased India’s national power. Unfortunately, some domestic problems and issues have been at times adversely affected India’s ability to exercise power in international relations. Internal disturbances have been acting as a limitation on India’s power in international relations. Thus, India’s national power has been dynamic and so has been the case of other nations.

National Power has a non-stable, dynamic character and as such it has to be continuously or at least periodically and regularly evaluated for understanding the role of the nation in international relations. National power is always dynamic. A powerful nation can become less powerful or more powerful in future.

This depends upon the changes in the power potential of other nations as well as upon the various components of national power. The power of a nation is always relative to the powers of other nations, particularly the power of its adversaries. In 1990, the collapse of the USSR and decline in the Russian power acted as a source of increase in the US power in international relations.

4. No Two Nations Have Equal Power

Further, it must be noted that no two nations have or can have absolutely equal power. There can be only a rough equality between two equally powerful super powers or great powers or major powers. The power of a nation is always more or less than the power of every other nation.

5. There Are Several Elements of National Power:

National power is often analyzed and evaluated in terms of the capabilities of a nation which are determined on the basis of several factors, like Geography, Population, Industrial Capacity, Diplomacy, Military Preparedness, Quality of Leadership and Government etc.. All these factors have to be analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively for evaluating the national power of a nation.

6. Actual Power and Potential Power

Moreover, the attempt to analyze the power of a nation must focus both on the analysis of actual power as well as potential power of a nation. Actual power is the power which is immediately available, whereas potential power is the power that can be generated in situations of crisis and times of need. It refers to the crisis- management ability as well as the possible availability of power in the years to come.

7. National Power is the Currency of International Relations

Each nation seeks to use its power for securing its national interests in international relations. It is this feature which makes us regard international relations as a process of struggle for power. The nature of this struggle for power can be analyzed only through an analysis of the national powers of various nations. The role that a nation is playing or can play in international relations can be judged by evaluating its national power. It is also needed for understanding the national interests of nations.

In fact, the greatest of all the national interests of a nation is to maintain and increase its national power. It is the means for the fulfillment of the needs and aspirations of a nation. As such, it is on the basis of an analysis of national power that we can assess the importance and role of a nation in international politics.

8. National Power is the Basis as Well as a Means of Foreign Policy:

National Power is the very basis of the foreign policy of a nation. Only that foreign policy can be effective in securing the goals of national interest which is backed by adequate national power. The ability of the statesmen and diplomats to act and react with others is again determined by the national power of their respective nations.

Dimensions of National Power

The three forms of national power are inseparable from each other. Without economic power, no nation can develop her military power, and without the latter, no nation can play an active role in international relations. Psychological power can be enduringly and really effective only when it is backed by economic and military power.

Some of the major dimensions of national power in international politics are as follows: 
  1. Military Power 
  2. Economic Power 
  3. Psychological Power.

1. Military Power

Military power is an important form of national power. It is regarded as absolutely essential for achieving the objective of security of the nation. For every nation, security is the most vital element of its national interest. In fact, it is the primary concern of every nation to work for securing her security.

The possibility of violation of security of a nation through war and aggression by other nations is always considered as a distinct possibility and hence every nation gives first priority to her security. For keeping her security against possible violations, each nation maintains an army. Military power is regarded as the key means for securing the security and territorial integrity of each nation.

Military power is as such a vital part of national power. The role and importance of a state in international relations depends upon its military power. No state can get recognition as a super power or big power without becoming a big military power. The USA is a super power and it is a formidable military power. Japan and Germany are big economic powers but are not recognized as super powers or great powers because they are weak military powers.

While evaluating military power of a nation we have to take into account the other two forms (Economic Power and Psychological Power) of national power, the elements of military power and the military power of other nations. Russia, the successor state of erstwhile USSR continues to be a nuclear power but it is no longer accepted as a super power because of its economic weakness. China is a big military power and yet it is not recognized as a super power.

2. Economic Power

Economic power is the second important form of national power. It is constituted by the ability of a nation to satisfy its own needs and to control the behaviour of other states by affording or denying access to economic goods and services. The economic means of foreign policy are today the most vital means which a state can use for influencing the actions and behaviour of other states. No state can become a military power without having adequate economic power.

Economic power is inseparable from military power, for it is one of its basic components, to say that under conditions of modern warfare, economic power is military power is only a slight exaggeration.” —Palmer and Perkins

Economic power is used by rich and developed nations to influence other states by granting them economic aid and loans. It is also through its economic power that the rich states try to secure their interests in international relations. It is used both as a means to induce as well as to coerce through economic pressure for securing a desired change in the behaviour of other states.

In fact, in contemporary times, economic power has come to be recognized as even more important form of national power than military power. The example of Japan can be quoted as a proof. Lack of economic power has been a basic factor behind the weak power positions of the Third World countries.

While evaluating the economic power of a nation one has to take into account such factors as raw material, natural resources, food stocks, industrial and technological capacity, G.N.P., trade surplus, means of transport and communication, GDP, GDP per capita etc. However, economic power of a nation when not backed by military power and psychological power is not very effective in international relations.

3. Psychological Power

Psychological power means the power of opinion and image of the nation. The role of propaganda and persuasive negotiations in international relations is a well known fact. These means are used by the states for securing an intended change in the behaviour of other states.

The improvement in the means of communications, increased influence of mass media and public opinion on foreign policy, the emergence of the age of open and conference diplomacy, the popularity of alternative ideologies the increase in people to people contacts, the role of NGOs and social movements, and the increased role of propaganda and publicity in international relations, have all increased the role of this dimension of National Power.

By the use of psychological and cultural means a nation always tries to influence the people and leaders of other nations. The ability to influence others through systematic publicity and educational and cultural relations constitutes the psychological part of the national power of a nation.

The Interdependence of the Three Forms of National Power

The three forms of national power are inseparable from each other. Without economic power, no nation can develop her military power, and without the latter, no nation can play an active role in international relations. Psychological power can be enduringly and really effective only when it is backed by economic and military power. Between 1950 and 1962 India was successful in exercising psychological power over a large majority of nations.

However, the Chinese invasion of 1962 and economic and industrial under-development as reflected in the outbreak of recurring famines and floods, made it very difficult for India in the post-1962 period, to exercise power in international relations. This made India realize fully the importance of the other two forms of national power.

The increased military power and economic development since the 1970s have now helped India to increase its psychological power in international relations. As one of the founding members and an important leader of the Non-aligned.

Movement as well as of the Third World, the fact of being the most developed among all the developing nations, and now the fact of being a nuclear power and world’s second largest fast developing economic market, have further helped India to strengthen its power of opinion in world politics.

Thus, psychological power is closely related to economic power and military power. It is a valuable and important part of the national power. Nature and scope National Power of the nation can be evaluated only by evaluating all these three highly related and interdependent dimensions of National Power.

Methods of Exercising National Power

Each nation uses its national power for securing its national interests, and goals of foreign policy. It is used by the nation through four basic means Persuasion, Rewards, Punishment and Force.

1. Persuasion

Persuasion is a very effective method of exercising national power. The art of persuasion consists in defining and logically explaining a particular problem or issue or dispute to other nations or any other nation. An attempt is made to persuade other nations to adopt a particular and desired view or perception of the nature of issues involved in any bilateral or multilateral problem or dispute or issue.

Here the attempt is to convince others about the reasonableness and justness of the policies of the nation. Diplomacy basically uses persuasion as a method of securing support for the foreign policy that it represents.

Persuasion is widely used by diplomats and statesmen for securing the desired and defined objectives of the foreign policy. It is an effective method of exercising power. But success in persuasion can be achieved only when it is supplemented by other methods and when it is backed by a strong national power and effective foreign policy.

2. Rewards

The second popular method of exercising power is the offering of rewards. These rewards can be material or economic or psychological. A nation can give material help to another nation in times of crisis or even otherwise. The practice of giving economic aid and easy loans or grants-in-aid is another method of winning support and inducing a change in the behavior of other states.

The token support or grant of certain honors to the statesmen, philosophers, artists, scientists and educationists of other nations also serve as psychological rewards intended to keep the other states friendly and cooperative.

The lease of territories or a military bases or equipment—industrial or military, transit and trade facilities and grant of right to allow passage of ships are some of the other forms of rewards which a state can offer to other states for securing a desired change in their behaviors. The USA is currently rewarding Pakistan for supporting US operations against terrorists in Afghanistan.

3. Punishment

A third way of exercising power is punishment. A powerful nation can inflict punishment on an offending or unhelpful state by imposing economic sanctions or norms or policies or placing trade restrictions or ensuring a denial of a possible reward. Denial or reduction in foreign aid or loan or refusal to export certain items or technology can be used by a powerful nation for inflicting a punishment or pressure on other nations.

Thus punishment can be used by a powerful nation for exercising its power over other states. In actual practice the powerful nations use threat of punishment as a method and refrain from actual imposition of punishment. The recourse to punishment can cause a reaction and thus harm the interest of the state resorting to punishment as a method of exercising its power.

The most effective punishment is the one which secures the desired objective of a state without the actual infliction of punishment on other states. Threat of punishment is a better method of exercise of national power than its actual infliction.

4. Force

The last method of exercising power is the actual use of force or physical violence. By the use of military power or physical force, a powerful nation can compel the desired change in the behaviour of another nation. As a method of exercising power, force is related to punishment.

When a punitive action is actually taken against another nation, it becomes a case of use of force. However, when the only threat of punitive action is given without the actual use of physical violence against the other state, it becomes a case of exercise of power through the use of punishment. As such the difference between force and punishment is in the actual use of force versus the threat of use of force.

Physical force or violence can be used by resorting to war or acts of reprisals and retortion by a powerful state. Resort to war is the extreme form of exercise of force (Power) in international relation. It is indeed a risky and dangerous method, which can seriously limit and damage the national power of the state which resorts to war. This consideration makes the resort to war as a method of exercising power as the last resort.

Each nation uses these four basic means for exercising her national power in international relations. These are used simultaneously for securing the desired objectives or goals of the foreign policy of a nation. However, presently nations try to make a minimum use of the method of force because they prefer to follow the principles of peaceful co-existence and peaceful conflict-resolution. The use of national power is always governed by the objective of securing the goals of national interest of the nation.

Following article is extracted from

A.T. Mahan & The Influence of Sea Power Upon History

A.T. Mahan

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, written by Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan and published in 1890, was a groundbreaking study that explained how the British Empire rose to power. An expert and lecturer in the field, Mahan was also the President of the U.S. Naval War College. His book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, proved influential not only because of what it said but also because of the impression it made on leaders ranging from American presidents to the German Kaiser.

From 1865 to 1885, commerce raiding and coastal defense were the accepted strategies of the U.S. Navy. In an age of technological change, these ideas began to seem obsolete to an influential group of American naval leaders. RADM Stephen B. Luce established the Naval War College in 1884. Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan was assigned there. Mahan's lecture notes become the basis for his book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, published in 1890. The book brought Mahan fame in his lifetime and ever since.
In the context of late 19th Century during times of peace as well as war. This had understandable appeal to industrialists, merchants interested in the overseas trade, investors, nationalists, and imperialists, and peacetime America. Mahan provided a powerful argument for achieving and preserving sea power.

The decline of the U.S. Navy ended about 1880, and by 1890, a renaissance was in full swing. The dominant evidence was Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan's book, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660- 1763 (1890). Equally significant were the new battleships utilizing Mahan's strategy of command of the sea and clearly displaying the industrial maturation of the United States.
US Naval Fleet during WW2
US Naval Fleet during WW2

The essence of Mahan from a naval viewpoint is that a great navy is a mark and prerequisite of national greatness. A great navy is one designed to fight an enemy in fleet engagements in order to win command of the sea, not one designed for commerce raiding or guerre de course. Mahan said strategic principles "remain as though laid on a rock." Geopolitical principles underlying national (and maritime) greatness: Geographic position; Physical conformation; Extent of territory; Number of the population; Character of the people; Character of the government. Tactics were conditioned by changing types of naval armaments. Tactics were aspects of operations occurring after the beginning of combat.

While Mahan recognized clearly that tactics were fluid due to changes in armaments, he did not view strategy in the same way. He did not realize the extent to which technology would affect, for instance, the validity of some of his six elements of sea power. Mahan was strongly influenced, as were most army officers of the period, by the writings of Jomini, a Swiss writer on strategy in Napoleon's campaigns. Jomini's work depended heavily on fixed principles that could be stated with mathematical precision and comprehensiveness.

Mahan identifies some important "strategic questions":
USS Ohio (BB 12)  passing the Cucaracha Slide,  while transiting the Panama Canal
USS Ohio (BB 12)
passing the Cucaracha Slide,
while transiting the Panama Canal

⇛ What are navies' functions? What are their objectives? 
Answer: "To command the seas" 

⇛ How should navies be concentrated? 
Answer: In battle fleets. 

⇛ Where should the coaling stations need to support them be established? 
Answer: At geographic "choke points" (e.g. Capetown, Hawaii). 

⇛ What is the value of commerce destruction, and should this be a primary or secondary goal of naval action? 
Answer: It cannot win wars, e.g., the C.S.S. Alabama; it can only be a secondary goal of naval action.

Mahan perceived colonies as valuable locations for coaling stations for a steam-driven battleship Navy. Mahan viewed the possibility of an isthmus passage (later to be realized in the form of Panama Canal) as necessary for U.S. naval power since this would become by definition a critical maritime "choke-point" -- the U.S. Navy is a "two-ocean" Navy.

Key Points
As one of the top naval warfare experts in the United States, Mahan understood just how much technological change had occurred in the naval world over time. To make his points, he focused primarily on the period of 1660 to 1783, a time of comparatively little change in technology, but great change in naval power. 
According to Mahan, Great Britain's economic, military and political strength was the direct result of its naval strength: Great Britain maintained both a combat fleet and a merchant fleet. In fact, the merchant capabilities were just as important, as they provided wealth and means of supply. To illustrate that a country was only as powerful as its sea forces, especially in regard to colonialism, Mahan discussed some of the major maritime wars that took place in the Caribbean, Europe, and North America.

Captain Mahan also cited some of the key factors associated with sea power, including a country's geography, government, national character, and population. Communication and concentration of a fleet were also important to naval strength. Additionally, Mahan emphasized how naval strategies of the past could be used in the present. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History not only helped to inspire America's naval renaissance and our nation's foreign policy, but also an international naval race.

Mahan's Vision
Mahan's core argument was that a great navy was essential for national prosperity through military and economic expansion. Mahan saw sea power as thoroughly intertwined with war. He wrote: 'The history of sea power is large, though by no means solely, a narrative of contests between nations, of mutual rivalries, of violence frequently culminating in war.'

His book pulled largely from European history to demonstrate his point. His vision called for a string of worldwide naval bases and coaling stations to patrol the seas. He particularly argued for the concentration of strategic 'choke points' or places where the U.S. could have a concentration of naval strength and supply stations.

As part of his strategy, he argued for a Central American canal and supported the annexation of Hawaii and the Philippines. He also argued that naval battles would be decided by 'decisive battles' between large-scale surface ships such as battleships. One limitation of Mahan's is that he did not foresee the eventual role that submarines and aircraft carriers would play in naval contests.

Mahan's Six Elements
Mahan put great faith in a military buildup. He wrote: 'Organized force alone enables the quiet and the weak to go about their business and sleep securely in their beds, safe from the violent without or within.'
Mahan's vision did not simply rest with naval ships. He argued that there were six elements of naval warfare. 
  • First, is the geographical location, or a nation's proximity to the sea. 
  • Second, is physical conformation, or its access to the ocean through rivers, lakes, harbors, and ports. 
  • Third, is the physical layout of its coastline. 
  • Fourth, is the size of a nation's population. 
  • Fifth is the national character of its people and its attitude toward commerce and trade. Lastly, is the character of the government and its relationship with the military. Mahan's point was that naval success was rooted in physical and non-physical factors and required more than mere ships.

The Economics of War

1. Total War

The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. The division of labor cannot function effectively amidst a war. Warfare among primitive tribes did not suffer this drawback because the warring parties had not been engaged in a trade before the hostilities. Thus they engaged in total war.

Things were different in Europe (before the French Revolution) when the military, financial, and political circumstances produced limited warfare. Wars were generally waged by small armies of professional soldiers, who generally did not involve noncombatants or their property. In this context, philosophers concluded that, because the citizens only suffered from warfare, the way to eliminate war was to dethrone the despots. The spread of democracy, many thought, would coincide with everlasting peace.

What these thinkers overlooked was that it is only democratic liberalism that ensures peace. In modern times, states wage total war against each other because interventionism and central planning lead to genuine conflict between citizens of rival states. Under classical liberalism, political boundaries are irrelevant; free trade and free mobility of labor mean that one's standard of living is unaffected by territorial expansion. Yet under National Socialism (and the interventionism of their neighbors), the citizens of Nazi Germany really stood to materially gain from conquest.

Ultimately, treaties and international organizations cannot ensure world peace. Only a widespread adoption of liberal policies will end war.

Also Read: The Economics of War By David Friedman

2. War and the Market Economy

It is a widespread myth that the market economy may be tolerated in peacetime, but in emergency situations — such as a war — the government must seize control of production. During a war, resources that normally go into consumer goods must be diverted into products for the military; private consumption must fall.

Entrepreneurs can most efficiently effect this switch if they are allowed to earn profits and cater to the new demand, emanating from the government as it spends funds on military items. Whether the government raises its revenues from higher taxes, increased borrowing, or even inflation, in the end the citizens will have less purchasing power, and their reduced consumption frees up the real resources to produce items for the war effort.

In the United States during the Second World War, this process was short-circuited because the government clung to the union doctrine that the workers' real take-home pay must not be allowed to fall, even during wartime. Consequently, the government was reluctant to levy higher taxes, and it imposed price controls to prevent "war profiteering." Given these realities, the only solution was to further intervene in the market, by imposing rationing schemes and other controls, designed to ensure an adequate flow of resources into the war industries.

Modern wars are won with a material. Capitalist countries defeat their socialist rivals because private entrepreneurs are more efficient in churning out products, whether consumer goods during peacetime or weapons for their governments. Even so, ultimately war and the market economy are incompatible, as the market relies on peaceful cooperation.

3. War and Autarky

If a tailor and Baker go to war with each other, it is significant that the baker can wait longer for a new suit than the tailor can go without bread. In an analogous fashion, Germany lost both world wars because it could not blockade Great Britain, nor could it maintain its own maritime supply lines.

The German militarists were aware of their vulnerability and so stressed the need for centrally planned autarky. They placed their hopes in Ersatz, the substitute, a replacement that was either of inferior quality, higher cost, or both, compared to what the unfettered market would have imported from abroad. Yet the inferiority of ersatz items is not a relic of the capitalist mind. Poorly equipped soldiers will fare worse against armies using the most advantageous materials, and higher costs of production mean that fewer finished goods can be produced from given resources.

4. The Futility of War

Interventionism generates economic nationalism, which in turn generates bellicosity. This tendency is internally consistent; only laissez-faire policies are consistent with durable peace.

Why It Matters

Contrary to popular belief, government controls do not enhance a country's military prowess. Entrepreneurs are more efficient than central planners in the production of tanks as well as the production of television sets.

In the long run, however, the market economy relies on the division of labor, which requires peaceful cooperation. The rise of total war in the modern age is due to the rise of "statolatry" and interventionism.

This article is excerpted from Study Guide to Human Action, chapter 34, "The Economics of War" (2008).

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